One of the major reasons for buying into a franchise is to take advantage of the brand recognition value of the original business. Customers who have become a fan of a particular product or service trust that they can get the same quality from one business to the next, as long as it carries that brand name.
For this reason, franchises are often tightly controlled, with strict limitations on the way a product is prepared, presented and marketed. Just as individual franchisees benefit from the perceived quality of the franchised product, the brand, as a whole, can be damaged by the actions of a single franchisee.
When it comes to whether or not franchisees should have their own websites, the industry has largely been divided. Franchisers are understandably reluctant to give control to individual franchisees, while franchisees may feel they are being penalized by not being able to conduct their own advertising campaigns – particularly if they feel that the overall franchise campaign is ineffective.
Google Puts the Hammer Down: Franchisee Websites and Local Search
Up until 2012, it was not uncommon for individual franchisees to have their own websites. These were stand-alone web pages, which allowed each franchisee to manage their own content and do their own marketing.
There was, however, a problem with these types of arrangements: the websites often featured duplicate content and contained multiple links to each other for the purpose of cross-promotion. These two practices had long been frowned upon by Google, and in 2012 the search engine giant began to penalize them by changing its algorithms. Almost overnight, many franchise businesses lost a tremendous amount of traffic.
The Optimal Approach To Franchise Website Management
A more practical way of setting up and maintaining franchise business websites is to have one central page containing all of the web content for a franchise brand. Product descriptions, menus, national promotions and anything else relevant to the brand are all contained on the main page. From there, sub-pages can be developed for each franchise location, to be maintained and edited by each franchisee, at the discretion of the franchise owner.
There are many benefits of this format. For one, it allows the franchise owner to determine how much free reign he or she wants to give the individual franchisees, and allows them to retain the ability to change any content on the sub-pages. Meanwhile, since the homepage contains all of the franchise’s relevant content, they avoid posting a lot of duplicate content. Click here if you would like to learn more about franchise marketing.